The importance of food in our individual lives raises moral questions from the debate over eating animals to the prominence of gourmet cookery in the popular media. Through philosophy, Elizabeth Telfer discusses issues including our obligations to those who are starving; the value of the pleasure of food; food as art; our duties to animals; and the moral virtues of hospitableness and temperance. Elizabeth Telfer shows how much traditional philosophy, from Plato to John Stuart Mill, has to say to illuminate (...) this everyday yet complex subject. (shrink)
The Franklin defence of meat-eating is the claim that meat-eating is morally permissible because animals eat other animals. I examine five versions of this defence. I argue that two versions, claiming respectively that might is right and that animals deserve to be eaten, can easily be dismissed, and that the version based on a claim that God intends us to eat animals is theologically controversial. I go on to show that the two other versions—one claiming that meat-eating is natural, the (...) other that it is inconsistent to condemn human meat-eating without also trying to prevent animals eating other animals—present some difficulties for the moral vegetarian. (shrink)
It is often said that human beings have the ability to plan and choose what to do, can think for themselves and have the freedom and the right to form their own opinions on moral questions. Such claims are sometimes expressed by saying that the human agent is autonomous. In this paper we shall try to disentangle various theses about the autonomy of the agent which the common claims do not always distinguish.
Looking at the philosophical issues raised by food this short and accessible book questions the place food should have in our individual lives. It shows how traditional philosophy and its classic texts can illuminate an everyday subject.
Although the theme of these papers is ‘Contemporary Moral Problems’ my paper is partly about Aristotelian ideas. I had originally intended to apologize for this, but I find there is no need: many other contributors have found Aristotle to be timelessly relevant, as I myself have.
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